The Sankofa Special Collection serves as a repository of archival materials, biographies, worship resources, and images that tell the story of Unitarian Universalists of Color. It celebrates the experiences of leaders and laity of African American, Native American, Asian and South Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Middle Eastern descent; members of the African Diaspora; and those who identify as multiracial and/or multicultural.
The purpose of the Sankofa Special Collection is reflected in its name. Sankofa means looking to the past in order to move forward into the future. Sankofa looks into the silences and absences created by white supremacy, to amplify what has been muted and to recover what has been obscured. Sankofa brings to the present the history of the People of Color who have made a home in Unitarian Universalism. It looks into the future to preserve and make accessible the substantial and ongoing impact of Unitarian Universalists of Color. Led by the communities it serves, the Sankofa Special Collection creates policies and methods of organization so that People of Color can locate their identities and experiences within Unitarian Universalism.
This special collection is meant to evolve. Our goal is for it to be a resource and a repository for the study and exploration of Unitarian Universalism’s relationship to race and culture. As the past is unearthed and new related resources are developed, they will find a home here. As new history is made every day, it will be preserved and made accessible here.
Sankofa is a living collection and we are constantly on the lookout for new acquisitions that document the rich history of Unitarian Universalists of Color. If you are interesting in donating materials to the Sankofa Special Collection, please contact us.
The very first digital archive project undertaken by Meadville Lombard was to digitize the Sankofa Special Collection. We are proud to make over 8,000 Sankofa images freely available and completely searchable to researchers. You can search the digitized archive below, or browse the digitized collections.
Because the mission of Sankofa is to increase access to stories that are often untold or forgotten, we make unprocessed collections available to researchers. To use any of our physical collections, please contact us. In most cases, materials are only available for use on campus and in our reading room. In some cases, and within reason, we can scan undigitized selected material on request and send you a high-quality scan of the item(s). Because some of our materials are stored off-site, please contact us at least two weeks before you need the materials.